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Earning a name

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Quote Originally Posted by Plasticweld View Post
Sixty Two failures by Bob Brown Not to be scored

I scrambled to find my helmet and jacket. The fire alarm had now sounded for the second time. The Army surplus air raid siren echoed across the hills breaking the tranquility of our small town. Switching on the scanner we found out it was our warehouse that was on fire.

I jumped on my motorcycle to ride over to see what was left. I parked by the main garage in the puddles of water a remnant from the firefight. I was met by Keith, who is a longtime friend, he was dirty and frazzled shaking his head, he told me nobody was hurt but the building is a total loss. He calmly told me about the intensity of the fire as we walked over to see what was left. In mid-sentence he was interrupted by a woman’s screams "No! No! Stop!" it sounded as though a child was being run over. We ran back to the garage to find that the fire truck had backed over my motorcycle, it lay wedged underneath it. Dripping gas, broken plastic and parts lay scattered about in the dirty water. They got the truck off my bike, I picked up the pieces and looked it over… it was banged up pretty good. I stood the bike and just stared at the mess. The business stuff gone, now no more than twisted metal, my bike being wrecked somehow bothered me more. I listened as the Chief told me not to worry, they would cover the damage, they were supposed to have a man back there when backing up, per insurance regulations and seeing as they did not, they would cover the cost themselves. I got the bike started and rode off. Winding up through the gears, letting the bike roar as I shifted through each of the gears, I was not going to let them think I or my motorcycle had been beaten.

I was astounded at the cost of replacing the damaged parts, the dealer ticked off the cost of replacing the broken and damaged stuff, $2700 it seemed far too high for plastic parts, I thought I would try something else. This was in 1992 and with the internet I was sure I could find a cheaper alternative. I was able to find something about plastic welding after doing some searches. I didn’t know it was even possible. Being a gambler, I ordered the needed tools and material to try and fix my own stuff. The tools and material were designed for automobile bumpers and I was sure it would work on my stuff.

I was wrong…

After making attempts’ on scrap parts with my new plastic welding tools I found out the hard way not all plastic is the same, what worked for car bumpers did not work for motorcycles and in my trial tests all the welds failed.

I did not give up, I kept at it and I kept failing. At test, sample sixty three I came up with a method that worked, I figured I was lucky I now knew 62 ways not to repair plastic. Having restored cars I knew that it takes a while to learn any new method. My next step was to buy a motorcycle to practice on. I bought one repaired it, sold it, then bought another one, each time making decent money in the process. The first few years I would buy and sell about 30 motorcycles a year. With the help of my son we put together a web page describing and documenting our services, we would not do only our bikes but customer bikes. We built a business from the ground up becoming one of the largest in the country. A Changing economy, changes in technologies and markets doomed us; thirteen years later I shut the doors of Empire GP. The company is gone, all that remains is my name Plasticweld.

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  1. rcallaci's Avatar
    An enjoyable and well written piece. I absolutely loved the ending- the origins of plasticweld. It made me reread the story three more times. You were one of the first to use the internet as a business tool, other than the porn industry. In the 90's the web was the wild west. You"re one of the pioneers. A great read...

    my warmest
  2. TKent's Avatar
    Very cool Love the meaning behind the name!
  3. TJ1985's Avatar
    I gotta confess Bob, I was curious and thought it might have been along these lines.

    On another note, back a firetruck over a modern bike and see what happens. Hope you've got a box to carry the pieces home in, lol.
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